This is the second part of a series on Communism in Western Europe; this section focuses on France in particular. The third part (Italy) can be found here.
In France, the Communist Party was founded in 1920 by revolting members of its socialist party, then called the French Section of the Workers' International (Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière, SFIO). Their new party initially did fairly poorly, only one of the numerous parties out there. In 1928, for instance, the Communists (PCF) won 11.26% of the vote.
Nevertheless, by 1936 - the depths of the Great Depression - the Communists (PCF) were making gains. Then came WWII - the best thing that ever happened to the PCF. Out of all the parties in occupied France, the Communists fought the Nazis hardest and suffered the most for it. They earned the nickname le parti des 75 000 fusillés - the party of the 75,000 executed people - and immense popularity.
Following the war, the PCF joined the new government led by Charles de Gaulle. Unfortunately for it, however, the U.S. government demanded a Communist-free government as a precondition for accepting the Marshall Plan. The French Communist Party was summarily booted out.
This did not prevent the PCF from channeling its wartime record into electoral success; from November 1946 to 1956, the Communists won a greater share of the popular vote than any other party. Their base lay amongst France's working class, which remained a loyal and reliable constituency, and they constituted the dominant force on the French left.
A mentor once told me not to study communism, because it was a dead system, and studying something dead is worthless.
In defiance of this sensible advice, I will be presenting two dead communist movements: the communists in Italy and the communists in France.
Most Americans have never heard about these two parties. For good reason: France and Italy were staunch allies of the United States in the Cold War; it does not seem as if they were remotely communist.
But, for decades, the communists in Italy and France commanded millions of votes and a powerful political machine. Their strength remains a fascinating, little-noticed part of history.
Here are how the French Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français: PCF) and the Italian Communist Party (Partito Comunista Italiano, PCI) performed:
There are several patterns here that apply to both parties, and several patterns unique to each country. (Note: The French line after 1956 indicates Communist performance in the first round of legislative elections, whereas the Italian line indicates Communist performance in elections to the Italian Chamber of Deputies. France has a two-round election system; Italy has two chambers in its Parliament. All statistics cited afterwards relate to these specific criteria.)
I will be exploring French patterns in the next post.
I watched McCain give a speech in Florida where he pushed his regular piece about the safety of nuclear power... and his complaint that Obama will consider it,but has a problem with spent fuel. And then he said that the French recycles their waste and "we always want to be like the French" and he laughed.
The week that will be remembered....the spiral downward of John McCain...at least for now...
I remember, clearly, when Barack Obama announced that he was the `Presumptive Nominee', the first thing that came out of John McCain's mouth was town hall meetings. Ten weekly town hall meetings to be exact.
Many said this would be wonderful, on the scale and scope of the Lincoln-Douglass debates. Many said this would bring democracy back to the process, let the voters see these candidates undressed, real. Well, it isn't happening.
I was against such posturing from the beginning, primarily because it would give candidate John McCain a chance to stand on the stage with Barack Obama, size him up while sizing and shoring 'John McCain' up. After last week's tour through the Middle East and Europe, we can comfortably state, the town hall meetings will not happen.
Through this week I saw two different campaigns.
The Obama Campaign. Senator Obama dealt directly with dignitaries of Iraq and Afghanistan, with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki endorsing the Obama Timeline for getting U.S. Troops out of Iraq. Then the trip to Afghanistan. Obama met with the President and witnessed firsthand the need of more U.S.Troops on the ground there and not in Iraq. The big crux of all this was the look of Barack Obama. He looked presidential, he looked like a leader. The most astounding thing is that all the heads of state, important diplomatic dignitaries wanted to meet and speak with Barack Obama. But the most startling thing of this whole trip was the blunt and direct ignoring of the Bush Administration by all of these countries and looking to Barack Obama as the new face of diplomacy from the United States of America, not John McCain. John McCain, nor George W. Bush will ever be met in Europe like Barack Obama was greeted. The waving of U.S. flags, excitement of the over 200,000 Germans in Berlin sealed the Bush Administration's fate, and McCain's fate to a point.
All of this unhinged the McCain Campaign. Why? I don't know. It was John McCain and the RNC who kept a clock ticker about Obama not visiting Iraq and never have gone to Afghanistan. It was their daring that put Barack on this worldwide tour. And now they had to sit back and take it. The McCain Campaign had to watch major U.S. Media and International Media follow Obama's every step and report on it.
McCain whined about unfair media coverage, along with unloading very disingenuous ads that were just straight up lies. Why he did this is beyond me? But, knowing politics, you don't go negative unless you must and something in the weeds has to be alarming for the McCain Campaign to go this route.
"It's hard for me to understand Sen. McCain's argument. He was telling me I was supposed to take this trip. He suggested it, thought it was a good idea," the senator told reporters, some of whom were seated on the ground in front of him and or standing on the sidewalk across.
"John McCain has visited every one of these countries post-primary that I have. He has given speeches in Canada, in Colombia, Mexico," he continued. "So it doesn't strike me that we've done anything different than the McCain campaign has done, which is to recognize that part of the job of the next president and commander-in-chief is to forge effective relationships with our allies."
So for all those who are still rallying for town hall meetings, the question is why? Who stand to gain from these town hall meetings? Who needs free media because their campaign is sucking an egg? Who gains to be seen with the most popular and important politician right now? Surely not Obama, but McCain.
Let's wait for the official debates. Let's get our vice-presidential nominee. Let's finish our convention. Let's work hard to elect Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States of America. And surely, let's forget about any town hall meetings in the very near future.
PPP Ohio; UNH New Hampshire Poll; Rasmussen Georgia and Alaska Poll; Detroit News Michigan Poll; Rasmussen Ohio Poll; EPI/MRA Michigan Poll; ARG Florida and New Hampshire Poll; Monmouth New Jersey Poll; PPP Virginia Poll; Rasmussen Florida Poll; WSJ/NBC National Poll; Rasmussen Minnesota Poll; Quinnipac Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin Poll; Pew Hispanic Poll; FOX News National Poll; Rasmussen New Hampshire Poll; Research 2000 Mississippi Poll; Rasmussen Pennsylvania Poll; Research 2000 North Dakota Poll; Frederick Colorado Poll; Rasmuseen New Mexico Poll; Critical Insights Maine Poll; Rasmussen and Gallup National Poll; Research 2000 South Carolina Poll; Rasmussen California Poll
obama addresses the UNITY Convention for Journalists of Color
Chicago, Unity Convention for Journalists of Color
Obama in Iraq, Jordan, Israel and Palestine
icebergslims last word: no time for complacency
Ok, there are enough links and slides in this diary for any Obama picture/video fixation or just a roadmap to what the past week has been for everyone to devour. We are proud of our Democratic Nominee, he did something that many thought he could not, and he looked and acted presidential. This world tour, this past week has stopped all the talking points of can Obama handle the world stage. We saw the images and videos, the answer is a resounding, YES!!
Now it is time to get ready for the convention but more importantly, post convention. This is where the real fighting will commence.
Already John McCain has put up two negative ads against Obama while he was away. One, which blames Obama for the high gas prices, which is just laughable. Believe me, the cable desk clerks were laughing at this one. The second ad called Troops is about Obama not visiting our wounded troops in Germany, instead playing hoops or working out. Another lie of an ad, as the German visit was cancelled by the Pentagon because Obama was travelling with his campaign, versus his senate detail as he was in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is just the beginning of the McCain running the Hillary Clinton Campaign. Folks, he is. It is called muddy up the waters, lie if necessary and throw the kitchen sink and hopes something sticks. That is what he is doing.
The Obama Campaign need to have a boatload of surrogates, on all the news shows, to tear this concept of McCains down to a shred. Believe me, it is easy because McCain has practically switched on every major point and the latest Troop ad even has Obama shooting hoops with troops, while the ad is stating he is not spending anytime with the troops. Go figure.
It is crap like this that will be out in force. Why so early? Well, August 8, 2008, the Olympics start. Many news channels will be focused on the Olympics and the results. Stories of unbelievable this, that or the other will be shown, thus politics are on the back burner. So, now it is time for McCain to attempt to become relevant. He shot himself in the foot by daring Obama to go overseas. Obama went overseas and McCain bitched the whole week about the media, thus negative ads appeared. Time is of the essence here, again, even though we have 99 days until the election a whole month will be detoured for the Olympics and both conventions start late in August, into September. Again, not much time.
Obamas full focus should be on the economy. He has put the experience issue, military issue, looking commander in chief issue to bed by this trip. Now, go to those states Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc., that are devastated by the economy and hammer home your plan from now until November 4, 2008.
This election will be about the economy, gas prices, homeowner loss, banks going down, jobs, lack of health care, tuition for college, the environment, climate change, all issues that affect people directly, not indirectly. Win on this issue, you will win the election. Simple as that.
Berlin, Nuff Said.... ::well, this has been one hell of a week, both politically and definately visually. our nominee knocked it out of the park, and then some. today is a visual diary, back in the saddle next sunday, but after vacation and barack's week i am pooped!!! below is my slideshow from germany, france and england. we have a fight on our hands, time is of the essence and thinking it is in the bag, is a no, no. as always, remember to focus on obama and not the drama....peace... Berlin, Paris, London and Home... and Obama's staff in London: Debate schedule is here. :: Tip the Obama Jar, Here :: Get Involved HereFor Inspiration: Yes.We.Can!!! :: icebergslim1047 (at) gmail (dot) com
cross-posted @ This Week With Barack Obama